Suns owner Robert Sarver discusses future of potential FA Chris Paul
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday to discuss his franchise’s run to the NBA Finals and the future going forward.
On that front, the Suns’ point guard Chris Paul has a player option in his contract for next season that he could decline to see out unrestricted free agency. Paul could also sign an extension right now or decline the option to get an entirely new deal with Phoenix.
Sarver was asked for his thoughts on Paul.
“I don’t know, it’s kind of interesting,” he said. “I had some discussions with him after the season and said, ‘You’ve only been a part of the organization for nine months so there’s really not a lot of history here, but from a team perspective, it was my best season in 17 years and it was your best season in 16 years.’ So there’s really a lot there to keep the two of us together, the Suns and him, but he’s got a decision to make and a business decision and a family decision and all that kind of stuff.
“Unfortunately, it’s not our decision, it’s his decision and he’ll have to decide whether he’s going to become a free agent or opt-in his contract. And we’ll know that in the next three days or something.”
The follow-up came with if Sarver knows Paul’s decision.
“I don’t, I don’t,” he said. “But what I do know is that if you’d ask me when I made the trade whether I thought this would even be a decision, I would have said no. And now it’s — I think he’s got a decision to make. I mean, listen, he did what we thought he would do based on how he’s played in the playoffs the last few years. He was outstanding. Are there other teams that would be interested in all that? Yeah, there probably is.
“So I’m not sure, to be honest with you. But I do think he really enjoyed being part of this team and I know we loved having him on this team so I hope he ends up back but I don’t have control of that today.”
Sarver was then asked if there was anything that would prevent the Suns from keeping Paul.
“Eh, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m sure there probably is. But I think our first priority would be to try to get him back but that’ll depend on his agent and (Suns general manager) James (Jones) and him and me and all that kind of stuff so I don’t know. We’ll see next week I guess, right?”
Another topic of discussion is the Suns entering a salary amount as a team that would have them in the luxury tax, bringing on the question of if Sarver and the Suns would be willing to do that. When considering Paul, unrestricted free agent Cam Payne and potential extensions for Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, it could be coming soon.
Sarver reiterated that is something the team expects to be part of their future.
“To answer the question directly about the tax, yeah, that’s going to come with the territory here,” he said. “I’m not sure whether it’s next season or the one after, but it’s definitely coming and we know that’s coming so we see ourselves as a taxpayer. That’s just part of what it’s going to take to try to bring home a championship.”